A shamelessly enjoyable, pop-spiked homage to rock'n'roll
Jessie Atkinson
10:00 27th November 2020

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Rock music has always been pop. Guitar bros might not be happy to hear it, but the truth doesn't care. As such, it wasn’t a lie when Miley announced she would be releasing a rock’n’roll album with her new full-length Plastic Hearts, so much as an exaggeration. Fun, camp and largely enjoyable, Miley has found a comfortable space in between the saccharine guitar of Breakout and the cool girl freak-out of Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz.

‘WTF Do I Know’ opens the record with ravishing results, its guttural bassline dissolving into a catchy pop-rock chorus that’s as good to sing in the shower as 2008’s ‘7 Things’ - a new anthem that’s all grown-up and hardened around the edges like Miley and her fans. This rock-lite romp continues to great effect on the vaguely Maroon 5 tones of the title track - another fire chorus included - before ‘Angels Like You’ brings the ballad…and a decent one it is too.

Single ’Prisoner’, a collaboration with Dua Lipa, is a disco-speckled standout with G-A-Y written all over it. Summer chart-smasher ‘Midnight Sky’ is similarly epic: a huge triumph of chiming synths and a love note to the glammer side of rock’n’roll bars.

Unlike the infectious Stevie Nicks mash-up ‘Edge of Midnight’ however, collaborations with Billy Idol and Joan Jett don’t live up to their considerable potential. ‘Night Crawling’, alongside Idol, is an homage to huge, arena-filling rock - though her collaborator’s forced vocals let the team down. ‘Bad Karma’, with Jett, feels underbaked and could have thrived with some breakneck Runaways-style riffage, though the gamble isn’t totally wasted: there are some interesting ideas in those melodic moans too.

’Gimme What I Want’, a short and spidery synth track, connects the first and second halves of the album with panache, but ‘Never Be Me’ and ‘Hate Me’ add little extra to what ballad ‘Angels Like You’ has already offered. Mark Ronson collab 'High' and album finale ‘Golden G String’ will satiate fans of the Miley ballad, though.

As you might expect from someone who rubs shoulders with Stevie and Debbie, the whole thing is impeccably produced: a glistening pop record on par with the presentation of Dua’s Future Nostalgia and Jessie Ware’s What’s Your Pleasure? These slick finishing touches allow Plastic Hearts to paint a neon picture of the funnest sides of rock while also dabbling in both 80s synths and the resurgence of disco. Like Britney Spear's cover of 'I Love Rock'n Roll', Plastic Hearts is a shamelessly enjoyable, pop-spiked homage to rock'n'roll.

Plastic Hearts is out now. 

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